Vue Orleans | Scoot on WWL Interviews David Rand Live at VUE Orleans

Scoot on WWL Interviews David Rand Live at VUE Orleans

There's No Better Place to See the Geography of the City of New Orleans

Scoot (00:00):
Haven't been up this high since the 1980s. It really is pretty amazing. We are 400 feet in the air and we've got this like, incredible 360 degree view of the city. I can see the lake. There's the river, there's the lake. It's, it's amazing how we are surrounded by water. We're gonna have fun this afternoon, but we're broadcasting live from Vue Orleans. It's Capital V. Capital U, capital E - VUE Orleans. It is an observatory. We're on the 33rd floor. This is a top, the, uh, four Seasons hotel. Now, as much as I would like to see this turned into some kind of a really cool dance club, because, you know, back in the eighties they had these dance clubs everywhere. And Ian, you know, you, you know, you would look around the city and at the, the top of the, she and the top of the top of these other hotels and places like this, they would be like this hot dance club. Yeah. And so this, you know, this, well, this used to be a restaurant.

The Scoot Show (00:56):
Well, I remember that. And it used to spin before Katrina

Scoot (00:58):
Yeah. And, um, it's a great spot. Uh, I am so impressed with this so far, and I haven't even seen all of it yet, but I often talk about the tolerance for mediocrity that we have in New Orleans. And this defies that. This is almost unlike New Orleans, unlike the standard that is acceptable to New Orleans, this goes way beyond that. This is state of the art. This is Vegas. This is, I wanna say it's Disney like, but, but in, I don't wanna make it seem like there, you know, rides here or anything, but it's Disney. Like in terms of the attitude that went behind this facility and the, you know, when you would go to observation decks, you know, you'd put the, put the quarter in the slot. Yeah. And you'd look through this like steel thing. Well, look what they have now. I mean, there's like video screens.

The Scoot Show (01:52):
Yeah. It's, it's like a giant video screen. You can, you can point it, point the, the video screen in the direction that you want, and it tells you what neighborhood you're looking at and what attractions are in that neighborhood. It's very, it's very bleeding edge and in a way that seems kind of unfamiliar in New Orleans. I'm, I'm picking up what you're putting down. It's almost too good to be true. I agree.

Scoot (02:12):
But it is true. It really is. It's, it's, it's awesome. There are few people walking around, but it's just, uh, you know, just, uh, really, uh, at, at this point it's, um, just, um, just opening up. I mean, this is really the, the, the beginning of all of this. Um, so we'll be talking about the, uh, the facility. I will tell you this, the ride up in the elevator is a ride . It is an entertaining ride because you, if you, if you stand back against the door when you walk in the, the three sides, the front and both the right and the left panels of the elevator are video. And I'll give you this little hint. Uh, as soon as I walked in the elevator and we started going up, this nice little catfish is swimming along and boom, this alligator comes in, consumes the catfish right in front of you. Do you feel like you've witnessed a murder?

The Scoot Show (03:00):
It's the first five seconds you're in the elevator. It's God, I I came up in the elevator with, um, with Liz, the person that does their PR and Karen, who we'll talk to next hour. And I'm, you know, we're, we're conducting business here we're these people's guests. So I'm trying to be cool and composed and polite. I almost lost it in that elevator, man. I was almost like, like swearing. And I was like, Ian, don't swear in front of these nice people. But I was, I, it took me a few seconds to get myself together getting off of that elevator. Cause I was like, it's amazing. That was such a trip. It's a 32nd elevator. Right? But it blew my mind.

Scoot (03:32):
I did some video. So I'm gonna be posting video on, uh, scoot on the air Instagram and scoot on the air, uh, Facebook. So we'll be watching, uh, for that. And look, you know, if you haven't joined me yet, I hope you'll join me on, on social media and we're gonna do what we can to bring you, um, to paint the picture for you of view. Orleans upstairs, there's an outdoor observation deck that's the 34th floor. We're on the 33rd floor. And so many of you have never ever seen this view of the river. I've been in a few high places in the city where I've seen the bend in the river, and I've seen ships and the perspective of the river from, from up high. But none of them, none of the, nothing that I've seen is this good. And you just get to see everything around you. I was gonna mention this, but I'll give credit to Luke, our engineer, because he said that every every class, every history class, every geography class, every school should send a class up here to see this. Because you get a great sense of New Orleans and the layout of the, of the city and where the lake is and where the, the river is. And you know, it's just, you know, we don't have a high perspective. I mean, the highest perspective we have of, of New Orleans is from the

The Scoot Show (04:51):
High rise. Yeah. Every time you're coming in from New Orleans East, you're like, oh, I get to go over the bridge and like see New Orleans from above. Yeah. That's, that's kid stuff compared to this. It is, you can see everything, you know, you were saying you could see the lake from up here. Yeah. You mean to really bake your noodle? You can't even see the lake. You can see the damn North Shore dude, you can see the opposite side of the lake from where we're sitting right now. That is blowing my mind.

Scoot (05:12):
It's really, it's truly crazy. It's, I mean, it's clear enough for you to actually see

The Scoot Show (05:16):
That. Yeah. I, we got great weather today. Thank, there.

Scoot (05:18):
There's a, a story cafe, there's a confluence of cultures. Uh, there's an inside observation deck here. Um, again, I'm, I'm gonna do a bunch of videos and we'll get this posted on, on social media.

The Scoot Show (05:32):
And, uh, a couple of people are asking what the price of admission to Vue Orleans is. It is, uh, 29 95 for adults. 1995 for the juniors just three to 12.

Scoot (05:42):
But if you're from Louisiana,

The Scoot Show (05:43):
Oh, there's the, there's a local discount.

Scoot (05:45):
Yes. It's $24. Oh,

The Scoot Show (05:46):
$24 is exceptional. 25 that, I was gonna say, even 29 95 is a great price to pay for. You've, you've spent 29 95 on weight dumber stuff than this experience. I promise you that, that Oh, I do buy that ticket. Come on up here, man. It's worth every hot penny.

Scoot (06:01):
And I'm looking at the Mississippi River right now as it winds through New Orleans. I'm scoot on the air. It is free for all Friday. And we are broadcasting live from View Orleans. David Rand is the general manager. Uh, David, I heard part of your conversation earlier with New Norman. Um, I, I don't know what else to ask you because you did a very thorough job of, of explaining, uh, everything. Uh, I, I guess I just want to start with, uh, this facility, this supersedes the standard of what is good in New Orleans. It goes beyond what is considered good. This is excellent.

David Rand (06:38):
Oh, thank you very much. We're, we're very pleased with what we've made for the city. And I, I hope New Orleanians are very proud of what we made for them.

Scoot (06:44):
They couldn't help but be, and, and, you know, so many people who, who visit, uh, they're gonna just see such a great view of the city and you really get a, a perspective of where you are. And, and that's something growing up in New Orleans, you get no perspective of where you are because we don't have

David Rand (07:01):
Mountains. You know, it's funny, uh, uh, quite a funny that you mentioned that so many New Orleans that come and visit here tell me, I've never seen the city like this. I've lived here all my life and I've never seen the river snake like this, or I've never seen this, the, the city from this point of view. And so it's so encouraging and so exciting to not only give new visitors to New Orleans, a a, a great perspective of the city, but to see people that have been here, lived all their lives here, see their city for the first time again, it's so

Scoot (07:31):
Exciting. Yeah. And, and again, you just get this great perspective of, of the water that is around us. And, you know, when you're down on, on the ground and you're driving from downtown and you go to the Causeway, I mean, that's, it's a bit of a drive. You don't realize how close the lake is. You don't realize in some ways how small the city is between the river and the lake.

David Rand (07:51):
Yeah. It, it's amazing how you, you'd think that it's that far, but it's really not. And then, but then if you try to walk it, it's gonna be way funner than you think. But, but I gotta tell you, you have a situation where you don't realize how much you're surrounded by the water around us. And it's just, it's just an amazing place and the best place to view the city.

Scoot (08:09):
What's your favorite aspect of, of Vue Orleans?

David Rand (08:12):
Uh, you know, that this has been a, a, a, a project that I've been working on for two years. And I think that what I, what I, my favorite part of it, if I would call it, is we partnered with some incredible people, professor Larry Powell from Tulane University, who wrote The Accidental City. A lot of experts in their areas to make sure that we're telling the true and accurate history. And what I'm really proud of and what I'm really excited about is the true and accurate history and not just the folklore. When you talk, you mentioned about school groups coming. We have so many school groups that are coming. This is a living classroom for people to learn the history of New Orleans, and not even just for school kids for any age. So that true historic aspect that we have in conjunction with the amazing attraction that it is, it's a wonderful blend.

Scoot (08:58):
It is. But when you talk about history, I haven't experienced every aspect of this. Cause I got here a few minutes before the show, and I, I walked around and I'll experience more. But what is, explain how, how history is learned here.

David Rand (09:12):
We, we, uh, starting at the very first entry where you first come into our confluence of cultures, you're able to interact with the characters from history such as Bienville, Marie Laveau, all the characters in history that made up the city and, and created our culture that we have here. You're able to literally interact with life size, um, displays of those people who talk to you and tell you their stories. So you're learning from them directly. Uh, and those are all local people that portrayed those folks. We, we had a such a local community piece that tied into all this. So you're learning directly from them and you're learning from Poppy Tucker and Kevin Belton, the ins and outs of the foods that we created and that made New Orleans so famous.

Scoot (09:58):
And there's, um, when I walked in, I didn't go by there, but there's a, there's a gift shop and then also there's a, it looks like a little bar.

David Rand (10:04):
Yeah. That's our story cafe. This is the, as you walk through our lower section, the Story cafe is a virtual cafe. We have a real one up on the 34th floor, and we have a virtual one downstairs. That's where Poppy Tooker and Kevin Beton explained, you can, you can quote order a, uh, a poboy or Jambalaya or um, or a king cake. And what they do is they tell you the history of it. They tell you how they're made, and then virtually that, um, that dish virtually appears in front of you. So it's a way to learn about the food. And then one of the things that, um, we love is that how do we then drive you to the local community? Meaning if this is your first time here and you've never had one of these, how can we get you to a great place to try the gumbo? How can we get you out to the city if the music pods that we have, that highlight all the music that made up this city really resonates with you, how do we get you over to Tipitina's and go see a show? You know, what do we do from here? So we want to be a great partner to the community and drive to it.

Scoot (11:00):
Yeah. It's, um, it's, it's exciting. I mean, I, I, I see that from where we are, uh, in our little broadcast area here. I certainly see the, the, the history around me and, and, but I just wanted a little better idea of, of, uh, of how history is manifested here. And that's a, that's a good explanation, especially when it comes to something like something simple like the food. Um, you know, so many people eat Po Boys and it's not a poor boy. It's a po boy, it's boy. But it's, you know, it was, uh, something that was a, it was a good deal. So it was really for poor boys. Mm-hmm. . Um, and a lot of people in New Orleans, um, have really never had a chance to learn the history of some of

David Rand (11:37):
The food and, and where, where those names came from and how it came about. And, and learning about the red beans and rice and why they're eating on Monday and everything that goes along with it. It's just a really fun way to learn. And for a younger generation that's very, uh, engaged and interactive. Yeah. It's a very interactive piece that people that the younger generations can really embrace.

Scoot (11:58):
Talk about the updated version of that thing that you would put a quarter in the viewfinder and the, the, like the binoculars that, that steel thing with the, you know, the, the two hold the two eyes mm-hmm. , the two s little scopes that you put your eyes up to explain the new updated

David Rand (12:15):
Version of that. Yeah. When I was a kid, I'd go to observation decks with my dad and we'd put the quarters in and look outside and then the, and

Scoot (12:21):
Only only, sometimes they would work

David Rand (12:22):
Only half, maybe, if you're lucky, half the time. And then the little, the little thing would drop down and end the session two minutes after you started. Um, the, the, what we call our AR stations, our automated real, our augmented reality stations, we have eight of them around the property. And, um, they are very large screens that you're able to pivot. And depending on the angle that you are facing in the city, it's going to highlight and bring up what you're looking at. Cuz the two big questions you get in an observation deck are, what direction are we facing? And then what's that? What am I looking at? And so these are helpful for us to be able to answer that question of what you're looking at. So it pops up again in English, Spanish, and French cuz we do everything in all three languages. It pops up the various buildings, the, the attractions that you're seeing and, and you're able to touch that and interact with it and learn more about it. And so it's a beautiful way to be able to see what you're looking at.

Scoot (13:17):
If you come to Vue Orleans, you would wanna spend some time

David Rand (13:20):
Here. Yeah. The average, um, the average time people spend with us, what we call our dwell time is about an hour and a half. Um, I always describe, uh, folks that come to visit attractions like ours as surfers, swimmers and divers. If you're a surfer, you, you might be just kind of coming through quick, you want to get some photos and things. You'll be here about a half an hour. Your average guest or your swimmer is here about an hour and a half if they wanna see everything and take their time. But if you're a diver like my dad and you wanna read every single little plaque and touch everything, you could be here two hours or longer. We have so much material, there's so much depth. Of course you gotta have stop and have a, a snack or a cold beverage, an adult beverage.

Of course it is New Orleans. So we do sell alcohol after all upstairs. Right. And then we have a, a fantastic retail shop downstairs, not only with um, logoed merchandise, we also have, we partnered with three local artists to create incredible, unique art designs that are designed, that are designed specifically for us, the tie, they're in the building, and then tie into our retail. So you can get an umbrella or a sweatshirt or a jersey or a coffee mugger a shot glass cuz I love shot glasses. Um, who doesn't, who doesn't? Exactly Right. Um, and with local artists that design this artwork, Elaine Cummings, and Scott Richard Thomas designed this for us specifically so that we have these beautiful art pieces that people can see in our retail shop.

Scoot (14:37):
We're talking to our general manager, David Rand of View Orleans. It is an observatory, um, unlike anything that has ever been in New Orleans. And, you know, we, we've got a lot of things here. And David, I think, uh, it's, it's, uh, quite an honor to, to be able to say that your place is something that nobody has seen before.

David Rand (14:58):
It's a wonderful thing and, and we, we, we are so fortunate to be part of this city and to be part of the, the revitalization of this building and this area that so many people have so many stories of and have so many fond memories of. So we're so excited to be part of that and to be part of the downtown experience. When you think about beautiful attractions like the World War II Museum and the aquarium, and now us to tie that in as one whole, one whole downtown area for people to visit, we're so proud and so, so blessed to be part of it.

Scoot (15:26):
David was, is there some facility somewhere? There was an inspiration

David Rand (15:30):
For this. You know, this was a, uh, a, a love of of, uh, a a love child basically of the owners that decided that wanted to pay tribute back to the city, they realized they had this space and what did they wanna do beyond just making something that is just an attraction. We wanted to pay back to the city by telling its spectacular story and sharing that in addition to the venue. So there are other observation decks. I come previously from the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas where they recruited me to come down here to, to work with them down here. I, I come from the Vegas area, originally from the Boston area if you couldn't catch the accent. But, uh, the past 25 years in the Vegas area. So there is this stratosphere tower in the Space needle and um, areas in Chicago, observation decks. But there's nothing like this that tells the story of the city and then offers these views that we have.

Scoot (16:19):
I've been on top of the needle in San Antonio. I've been in the Space Needle in Seattle. And this is indeed unique. In fact, it would be interesting to see if people from those areas come here and don't pick up some ideas from here and wanna renovate their areas to be more like this

David Rand (16:36):
Place. I, I think that, uh, I think we're gonna find that this model basically can be tra can, we can tell the story of any city. And I think that we can be surprised at all if we see some of that, a little, few chameleons as I like to call

Scoot (16:47):
'em. I mean, can you imagine like one of these in Omaha and you've got that 360 degree view of Omaha, Nebraska? It would just be, it would, it probably wouldn't work.

David Rand (16:58):
, maybe not.

The Scoot Show (16:59):
You wanna see all the corn?

David Rand (17:01):
That's a lot of corn. The viewfinders wouldn't have too much to put in there because you

The Scoot Show (17:05):
Over here corn and turn to the other side. More corn.

Scoot (17:08):
Let's take a break. When we come back, I wanna talk about how, you know, it's kind of like an, um, an aircraft simulator. You, you get to, to dock a boat. Mm-hmm. , you dock a

David Rand (17:19):
Ship, the river pilot you says, hey,

Scoot (17:21):
Okay, the river pilot. Okay, we're gonna talk about that when we come back. I'm Scoot on the air on WWL and we are high above New Orleans, a top the Four Seasons hotel at Vue Orleans. You know, from this, this perspective, you get a sense that there's nothing wrong in New Orleans. And I think everybody really deserves the opportunity to see the city away from the things that are negative about the city because it's a reminder of why this city is, is great. And I think, uh, in the show this afternoon, I think we could actually talk about, um, some of the things that we should be positive about, uh, new Orleans. And I will tell you that this is a, this is a very positive catalyst here of Vue Orleans. We're talking to David Rand, he's the general manager. Talk for a moment about this. It, I mean, it, it's something you would see maybe at a, a Carnival or a Dave & Busters, but it's really sophisticated. It's um, they're, they're wheels and, and you get to guide this ship and, and dock on the

David Rand (18:18):
River. Yeah. It's an amazing, it's amazing exhibit that we have. It's called our River Pilot Table. One of our owners, um, is a retired RBO pilot, uh, Lee Jackson. And he helped us design this. And so it's very accurate to again, that going back to that accuracy and what we've made, um, to piloting a ship around Alges Point, a big cargo ship and then, uh, and then docking it, attempting to dock it. Uh, and uh, you have to follow his directions. The storm will kick up as you go. They'll be cross traffic from the ships that are going in front of you and you can sink it. So be real careful. Um, so you can sink it. Oh, that's, if if you do, you'll end up in the, in the bottom of the river with the catfish, but Wow. Yeah, but if you, you're able to dock it successfully, you're, you become a Vue Orleans ship captain.

The Scoot Show (18:58):
Oh, I can't wait to try that.

David Rand (19:00):
Try that. It's so fun. We have so many people that try over and over again cuz they try to keep doing it and if they can't do it, both kids and adults, they fun. How? It's a lot of fun. We're a very interactive and immersive

The Scoot Show (19:10):
Experience. Yeah. Um, I'm so, I'm a bit of a building nerd I think is a nice way to put it. So I'm, I'm very familiar with the Stratosphere Tower in Las Vegas. It's a great building and I know there's always people like, uh, base jumping and bungee jumping off of that structure. I wonder if you field at any requests so far for people to come, you know, jump off of , jump off of your Orleans,

David Rand (19:31):
No request just yet. It's funny you mentioned that that was, uh, the sky jump that they have there. That was one of the attractions that I ran when we were there. Cool. And um, I never actually jumped off the side cuz I, that was just not my cup petite, but mm-hmm. Um, but one of the first things when I got here and I first saw the building and I, the first thing I said was zip line across the river . That was the first thing I have.

The Scoot Show (19:50):
I thought this you could zip line over there to the casino or the Sheraton or something.

David Rand (19:54):
So we haven't had any requests yet, but I'm sure they'll be coming

The Scoot Show (19:56):
Soon. Okay. Well maybe I'll be the first. You got my number

Scoot (19:59):
Right David. Thanks for spending time with us. This is a, a phenomenal facility and, uh, one thing that I just, uh, want to promote is that this is above the standard of what is good in New Orleans. I mean, this is just excellent and I hope things like this more inspire people to be a little bit more excellent in what they do in

David Rand (20:22):
Our city and proud of the city. You know, it's, it's, it's an amazing space. It's an amazing event space. We use this space after hours, we turn it over and you can imagine a wedding reception up here or a cocktail party up here. Yeah. Um, we're gonna have a New Year's Eve party tickets to be on sale first week in, in December. Um, where you can watch the fireworks from the barges that shoots off. I mean, they're literally going off right next to us. Yes. You're on that outdoor deck. Your, your eye level with the fireworks. The best place to watch the fireworks will be here on New Year's Eve at Vue

Scoot (20:52):
Orleans. All right. David Rand, general manager of Vue Orleans, thank you for having us here and, uh, good luck in the

David Rand (20:57):
Future. Thank you for being here. We really appreciate it.